September 24, 2007, - 12:22 pm

Remember ICE’s Tommy LaSorda Party?: House Homeland Security Committee Looking into DHS’ Wasteful “Conferences”

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee may be useless and stupid–they’ve all but given the empress with no clothing, their blessing to head up Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). (The vote on her is scheduled for Wednesday Morning, sadly.) But the House Homeland Security Committee may soon be asking the questions their Senate counterparts should be but aren’t.

The ICE Princess & ICE’s John “Costanza” Torres Wasted Your Tax $$$ on Tommy Lasorda Confab

(Julie Myers Diet Coke & John Torres Costanza by David Lunde/Lundesigns)

Remember the weeklong “conference” held last year by ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Director John P. Torres ? Remember how it was done in The ICE Princess’ hometown, Kansas City, so she could “visit the folks” and party, courtesy of you the taxpayer? Remember how the conference took a whole week of top ICE DRO officials’ time and cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in man-hours/salary, hotel rooms, per diems, etc?
Well, now, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) is looking into these wasteful, phony conferences at Homeland Security:

House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has asked the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general to investigate how much the department has spent on conferences and events during the last three years.
In a letter sent Thursday to Inspector General Richard Skinner, Thompson said his request was prompted by a recent audit from the Justice Department’s inspector general into that department’s conference expenditures. That IG’s report found that Justice spent about $46 million on conferences and travel during fiscal 2006.
The report on Justice spending concluded that some expenses, while allowed by law, appeared to be extravagant. . . .
“I am writing to request that your office conduct a similar examination of the spending for conferences, retreats and similar off-site activities conducted by the Department of Homeland Security,” Thompson wrote to Skinner. “Because of the important mission of the department and the need to prudently spend federal taxpayer funds, neither waste nor extravagance by the department in performance of its critical role should be accepted or condoned.”
The Transportation Security Administration, a high-profile arm of the Homeland Security Department, came under fire in 2004 for holding an extravagant awards ceremony. Then-Inspector General Clark Kent Irvin reported that the agency held an “unnecessarily expensive” awards program the year before that cost about $460,000.
Irvin said TSA failed to solicit competitive bids when selecting a site for the awards program, and did not compare the total costs associated with different site selections or ceremony configurations. The audit did not, however, find any violations of federal law.
TSA disputed the audit, but scaled back its awards ceremony for 2004.
In his Thursday letter, Thompson said he wants to know the total that each agency within the department has spent for the last three years “on producing or facilitating the production” of events, including funds spent on travel and staff salaries. He added that he wants the IG to identify any co-sponsors of each event for the last year, if the department was not the sole organizer.

You can expect The ICE Princess’ book-cookers to get back to work camouflaging the real cost of John “Costanza” Torres weeklong partying headlined by Tommy Lasorda.
I urge any and all ICE personnel who were at the ICE/DRO Homeland Lasorda-ty “conference” to contact Rep. Thompson’s committee staff and inform them on The ICE Princess and her man “Costanza” Torres’ wasteful spending of your tax money for a week of partying and preening. And let DHS’ Inspector General Skinner know about it, too. I urge that you do so under a pseudonym.
We all know that ICE and DHS officials are more concerned with rooting out dedicated, law-abiding law enforcement whistleblowers than they are in rooting out terrorist, illegal aliens, and other criminals.
Congressman Thompson wants headlines showing how he’s sleuthing out and stopping waste at Homeland Security. Give him the fodder for it.

ICE’s , a/k/a “The ICE Princess, Detention & Removal Honcho/Self Promoter ,” and New $30-$50K ICE

(ICEfeld by Assistant Homeland Security Secretary for PhotoShop David Lunde)

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30 Responses

Ought to be a GAO audit here, not just DHS-OIG (keep ’em honest, like Anderson Cooper).
In an upcoming fiscal year where some 40% of ICE OI’s budget will go to paying others for services we used to get for free, no penny can be wasted on petty bulls**t like elite conferences and awards that 99 percent of ICE employees DON’T get, despite the fact that they are doing 99 percent of the work that makes the elite 1 percent look golden.
Give ’em hell, Ms. Schlussel. And, by the way, blessed be your father’s memory – he will remain in my prayers for the righteous departed, and he shall surely see justice and his G-d on the last day.

4EVERCUSTOMS on September 24, 2007 at 3:21 pm

Ms. Schlussel,
Go easy on Mr. Torres and DRO. The call to that outfit gets stronger with each passing day for the legacy INS folks stuck in ICE OI. Some days when I look around at the collection of idiots that are managing OI, I long for someone who is just a bit corrupt (like Mr. Torres) instead of outright stupid AND corrupt like the managment team in OI.
Along those lines, if EVS is monitoring this thread, I have a couple of questions. First, where is the legacy INS ASAC you said was coming to SAC New Orleans? And two, after finally meeting the ASAC for Tennessee, I was less than impressed with his management style and his job knowledge. He barely even paid lip service to (and was openly hostile to) what the U.S. Congress and lots of the American public think is an important part of the ICE mission. Do you really think this was the best choice for the job?
Not to beat the dead horse too much, but issues like these are driving the legacy INS agents to DRO. If managment wants to stop the flow, they might want to start addressing these issues sooner rather than later.

SouthernICE1811 on September 24, 2007 at 11:46 pm

Ms. Schlussel,
I owe you an apology. You’ve never been anything but supportive of DRO and the men and women doing that thankless work day in and day out. The management (and Mr. Torres) do have issues, but I’m trying to overlook that as I contemplate making the jump to what many of us feel is an organization that will be less hostile to us.
I like being an investigator and I like working criminal cases, but the day in and day out signs from mangement in OI (the lack of people in upper management with an Immigration enforcement background the “grit your teeth, choke down the bile” attitude towards immigration enforcement that many of the managers in OI exhibit, and the reliance on journeyman agents to guide management in issues they have no background in or interest in learning) are forcing me to consider leaving OI. But whatever I decide, corruption in government is unacceptable, and I thank you for your efforts to expose it and correct it.

SouthernICE1811 on September 25, 2007 at 10:43 am

Stop to think, is it entirely fair that you are making conclusions about a new ASAC for Tennessee based entirely on one meeting? Would it not be more prudent to rest your opinions not on what he said in that brief encounter, but by the example he sets, leadership he displays, and the manner in which he takes care of the troops?
Within the SAC New Orleans, there ARE examples of legacy INS employees being either recommended for or placed into first line supervisors and management positions such as group supervisors and RACs.
I believe it’s a mis-characterization of senior field management’s attitude towards Title 8 enforcement when you coined the phrase, “grit your teeth, choke down the bile.” One must be cognizant that some of the missions OI field offices are being charged to complete are politically driven, not from a HQ level, but from a West Wing level. Title 8, unlike other laws investigated and enforced by ICE-OI, has a human face. Everyone is against child porn and drug smuggling, and everyone, for the most part, is against illegal aliens using fake documents, working under stolen or fraudulent SSNs, reentering after removal, etc. etc, until vocal minorities such as special interest groups talk about the effect Title 8 enforcement actions have on families. The Michael Bianco work site case is a good example.
The best cases are the ones that YOU develop, not the ones that HQ, via Executive or Legislative Branches of our Government, task you to work. Could it be that your perceived lack of enthusiasm from field managers is related to a specific politicized type of Title 8 enforcement, and not the overall part of the OI mission that is Title 8 enforcement?
Did I want to conduct Title 8 investigations when I filled out my OF 612 for the U.S. Customs Service? No, I didn’t.
Have I ever been told not to pursue what are considered traditional “Customs” cases in deference to Title 8 cases? Never.
However, am I excited about the fact that having Title 8 authority gives ICE-OI that much more legal authority that can be used to help cripple and dismantle criminal organizations? Damn right.
Am I optimistic that, instead of bemoaning Title 8, our aggressive and intelligent Special Agents in OI field offices and AIRG groups across the country will bring to bear the additional SUA’s within Title 8, allowing for indictments under 18 USC 1956 and 1957? Again, damn right.
Since our enforcement brothers and sisters at DRO took over the important ACAP program, OI is now able, at least in my experience, to focus on working intelligence driven investigations. This is a GOOD thing. This is what OI should be doing.
If you elect to leave OI for DRO, good luck to you. I hope that you are happy there as they have an important mission.
However, the road is long, OI is the youngest investigative agency in the U.S. Government; Things are getting better all the time, and will continue to get better in my opinion.
Despite what is said on this board, there are members of OI senior management that get to work when its dark outside, and get home when its dark outside, and in between work their asses off to take care of our folks and do right by this young agency, including you, SouthernICE1811.
Good night, and good luck,
thin blue line

thin blue line on September 25, 2007 at 11:24 pm

Welcome back “Thin Blue Line”. If Finger commuted 200 miles round trip in a G ride, he’d be traveling in the dark too. Mister Eleven does not jump to conclusions as quickly as others on this blog. But I can assure that the last play “is under review”.

FingerEleven on September 26, 2007 at 12:29 am

Now, this is precious. TBL has a very similar writing style to that of another friend, EVS.
Of course legacy INS employees are being RECOMMENDED for management positions in OI – the trick is getting SELECTED.
I feel sorry for those legacy INS employees left in OI – and I know you all read this blog – because there will never be equality and you will never be respected. They will give you awards, they will tell you how much they value your expertise, and then – well, then they’ll point to the GS-15 SAC in St. Paul and say that they’ve “promoted” one of you. Fantastic! Perhaps next one of you will be named SAC of Cubicle 5 in the Ops Division!! It’s almost like earning the right to vote!!!!
I can’t wait to hear about all those great investigations with the Title 8 SUA’s – are they like the ones they had in NY? Just checking…..
4EVER – sorry I’ve not posted a response to yours, but I’ve been busy living. Bottom line – as nice as it was for legacy INS people to “float” over to DRO, many legacy USCS personnel have made the jump. As a matter of fact, several Unit Chiefs in DRO HQ came from legacy USCS – so DRO is not biased in the same manner as OI. Your choice is your own – and I wish you the best.
TBL – last point. Take a count of legacy USCS/OI 14s, 15s, and above – I’d love to see the ratios!
The 1789er

The1789er on September 26, 2007 at 1:40 am

“TBL has a very similar writing style to that of another friend, EVS.”-1789’er
Ya Think?

FingerEleven on September 26, 2007 at 8:31 am

“Stop to think, is it entirely fair that you are making conclusions about a new ASAC for Tennessee based entirely on one meeting? Would it not be more prudent to rest your opinions not on what he said in that brief encounter, but by the example he sets, leadership he displays, and the manner in which he takes care of the troops?”
First impressions are important, and he made a very poor one. I don’t care what his reasoning is (HQ or political interference) or his claims are about his feelings on the immigration law enforcement mission (you guys did okay before, but now let us show you how to make money laundering cases because everyone knows the only reason to work a case is to seize some money), his disdain for the mission came through.
He is the second legacy Customs ASAC sent to Tennessee (a state dominated by immigration matters if for no other reason than lack of close proximity to a border and the large number of illegal aliens involved in criminal activity), and I am certain a better choice would have been someone who has some knowledge of how to deal with the the realities and politics of immigration law enforcement. These politics and issues are nothing new and have no easy solutions, but would certainly be handled more ably by someone who cared about the mission and had some background in it.
If that isn’t possible, then having at least one ASAC in SAC New Orleans from the Immigration side would give the other ASACs, the Deputy SAC, and the SAC someone to go to for advice on how to deal with immigration issues. As I’m sure you know, the original idea was for the SAC to be from one side of the house, the deputy SAC to be from the other side of the house (and I assume some mixture of backgrounds among the ASACs). For whatever reason, that was thrown out the window in SAC New Orleans, and to this date, there are exactly zero ASACS from the immigration side and an equal number at the DSAC and SAC level. I like the DSAC (if you’re watching EVS) and the SAC, and I think they do a good job taking care of the troops and all the other issues you mentioned. But the lack of legacy immigration people in the management structure of the SAC area speaks volumes about their opinion of us and the mission we did our best to perform before ICE and continue to perform today.
If leadership skills, taking care of the troops, and setting a good example for the people that work for them are the critical skills for an ASAC (and I don’t disagree that they are important skills), then by all means use that as the basis for hiring ASACs. However I find it hard to believe that in almost five years of ICE, SAC New Orleans hasn’t been able to find even one person from the immigration side of the house that has those skills. The obvious conclusion is they aren’t actually looking for anyone from the immigration side of the house for ASACs, and at least one result of this is the flow of agents from OI to DRO.

SouthernICE1811 on September 26, 2007 at 10:35 am

Right, wrong or otherwise, I agree with you that senior ICE managers at HQ (largely legacy Customs) are mostly disdainful of the immigration mission of this agency, and, I think, are trying their damn best to totally rid ICE not only of legacy INS types, but of the mission as a whole, and return as much as possible to legacy Customs work.
I’ve heard Ms. Forman speak and, I can tell you, she ABSOLUTELY would LOVE to rid ICE of ANYTHING to do with legacy INS work – that is straight from her mouth (not in quite so harsh terms, but many, myself included, can read past the diplo-speak B.S.). Furthermore, she ABSOLUTELY HATES Debbie and what she posts on this site, which, unfortunately, often has a lot of merit and warrants further discussion.
Stand-by folks, we’re in for a wild ride in FY 2008 !!!

4EVERCUSTOMS on September 26, 2007 at 4:03 pm

Our troops in Iraq didn’t sign-up for endless back to back tours, nor police actions and adult supervision of Iraqi tribes behaving like children. Yet here at home they are sold out by selfish and greedy politicians and war-profiteers while we face a similar sold out status with immigration enforcement. But unlike those who serve overseas for a job they didn’t sign-up for either, we complain and undermine those trying to do the best we can, it is just short of treason, especially in time of war.
DRO has good morale, a positive attitude, is family friendly, and is doing a good job keeping the press from destroying their mission. Still OI personnel call them “bus drivers and jailers”.
You could learn a lot from them let me tell you.
Some of you should be ashamed of yourselves. On a more positive note, I notice a lot of management seem to be in an especially good mood these days. I keep reaching for my wallet to make sure they didn’t find it or steal it.

code7 on September 26, 2007 at 7:37 pm

code7 …
I think many OI personnel would have a better attitude if we were given a clear mission, an adequate budget and some respect, instead of being treated like second-rate stepchildren.
Prior to this debacle, OI staff were proud to bring loads of criminals to justice in courts all around the country – it felt good to get drug dealers, money launders, weapons traffickers and child pornographers off our streets. Now, we’re lucky if our cars start in the morning, and if we have the staff, equipment and money to do whatever politically motivated job they want us to do today.
By the way, notice how fewer and fewer OI staff are posting to this site. With Myers all but confirmed, the Shared Services Agreement in the toilet and OI drifting into meaningless irrelevance, frankly, noone gives a f**k, and all they are doing is going along to get along.
Have a good night.

4EVERCUSTOMS on September 26, 2007 at 7:52 pm

No, I’m not DSAC Barnette, but I will take the comparison of writing styles as complimentary.
On that note, I will say now that I will never create what appear to be other commentators and personas who appear to ally with me by utilizing multiple signatures/screen names, as has been done here in the recent past in order to falsely show what appears to be a larger sect of persons who share one opinion.
In the words of Edward R. Murrow and now, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC,
“Good night, and good luck,”
thin blue line

thin blue line on September 26, 2007 at 10:51 pm

Well, 4EVER, I didn’t believe you when you said you gave up bashing on the legacy INSers, but it seems you really have. I agree with your comments above regarding management’s desire to simply ignore the immigration mission – and ditch those with the INS background.
You may be right, too, about the disaster that losing shared services without a solid replacement will be. However, the shared services now are a disaster. ICE needs come last after Border Patrol and CBP Inspectional issues, so ICE may not be that much worse off.
Code 7 – those comments made about DRO by our biggest fan, Ray Parmer, give great insight into what the OI managers really think of the immigration mission. It’s too bad his comments will serve to drive even more away when his intent was to degrade the organization (DRO) to convince people not to leave. Another fumble!
SouthernICE1811 – It’s not just SAC New Orleans. Take a survey of offices and you’ll find that the scarlet “I” is more than a myth.

The1789er on September 27, 2007 at 1:50 am

Thin Blue Line + Ever Vengeful Shihtzu =ZERO
Masters of the run on sentence they may be. But mathematics was not their best subject. Do they not have eyes to see? Ears to hear? Every legitimate measure shows that morale in ICE is as low as whale droppings.The exodus of management officials from OI is massive and legendary. Agents are also leaving in droves from north and south, east and west. I for one don’t give a rats rear who you. You lack a sense of the obvious and your choice of mentors says all I need to know. Have a nice day but don’t drink the water. Barnette will serve the Kool Aid when he gets out of Marcy Jail.

FingerEleven on September 27, 2007 at 1:54 am

DS: Nice Graphics in the article

CallofDuty on September 27, 2007 at 12:40 pm

First off, I’ll apologize for not posting sooner, but I was about ICE business, and away from the computer for the vast majority of the week.
I didn’t see anything substantive in Debbie’s column regarding ICE/OI, but since everyone on here is allegedly from ICE/OI, and since I’ve been asked some questions, I’ll add my voice, for what it’s worth.
I’ll begin by complimenting Thin Blue Line for his positive attitude, and well articulated comments. Thin Blue Line said it, and I’ll paraphrase him to say, I also will never use more than one alias/screen-name in an effort to deceive or mislead any of the readers on this board. It’s about integrity my friends.
It’s very refreshing to know that there are some ICE Special Agents out there that “get it”, and who are willing to take a little virtual heat on this site, for standing up for their position. You will find that you aren’t very welcome here sir/madam, but I appreciate some support from the rank and file troops. ICE is going to be the place to be, given time.
You say ” Some days when I look around at the collection of idiots that are managing OI, I long for someone who is just a bit corrupt (like Mr. Torres) instead of outright stupid AND corrupt like the managment team in OI.”
That’s a big statement Sir, and one I wouldn’t put out there unless you have something to back up your words.
Would you like to elaborate or would you like to be lumped in with the coconuts that throw this crap out there, without any substantive evidence or proof? “Idiots”? “Corrupt”?
You then say “First, where is the legacy INS ASAC you said was coming to SAC New Orleans?”
I can’t answer this question without violating specific ICE employee(s) privacy, and for that reason I won’t do so. I can tell you that the SAC/New Orleans is doing everything we know to do, to find the best qualified candidate for an ASAC vacancy in New Orleans.
I’d appreciate your assistance on this, if you are really concerned with who is selected. Talk to your friends, regardless of their legacy agency, and tell them to reach out to me (preserving your anonynimity if desired) and point me towards the best qualified candidate that is currently on the GS-1811-15 list.
You then said “And two, after finally meeting the ASAC for Tennessee, I was less than impressed with his management style and his job knowledge.”
You sir, are entitled to your opinion, and because I don’t know who you are, I have no way of evaluating whether or not you are capable of rendering an opinion that I would value, but I’ll say this: The ASAC Memphis is an experienced leader, who has been tried by fire, and I have total confidence in his ability to oversee the operations within the state of Tennessee.
This man has worked his way from the street, as a local police officer, Special Agent, Group Supervisor, Assistant SAC, Acting Deputy SAC, and Acting SAC in El Paso, Texas, before coming to work with us in Memphis, Tennessee. In case you don’t know, El Paso, Texas is no garden spot, or cushy job. The work never stops out there, for the Agents or the Supervisors.
If you work for him, I’d ask you to get to know him before you throw rocks, as you might find you are working for the best leader you’ve ever had the opportunity to work for.
“Do you really think this was the best choice for the job?” ABSOLUTELY without question.
“The obvious conclusion is they aren’t actually looking for anyone from the immigration side of the house for ASACs, and at least one result of this is the flow of agents from OI to DRO.”
I’ve already answered the first part of this statement, and I will tell you that your conclusion is 100% inaccurate.
Maybe this misconception does have something to do with the flow of agents from OI to DRO, but I’d ask you to question the good ones that have left the SAC/New Orleans why they left.
Hell, two that I won’t name here, were on the top of our lists to promote, at our earliest opportunity, and they knew it, when they jumped. What more would you have us do? Seriously? I’m not willing to buy your argument Sir, at least as far as the SAC/New Orleans goes.
You usually post your opinions, drawing conclusions from your own experiences within your office, right?
When you say ” Now, we’re lucky if our cars start in the morning, and if we have the staff, equipment and money to do whatever politically motivated job they want us to do today” where is that coming from?
Do you not have decent G-Rides where you work (ours are better than ever), we never have enough staff, but we make do with what we have, and work within the system to get enhancement postions when possible, and our budget was fine this past year, right up to now, when we’re closing in on the waning moments of FY07. I think in the interest of fairness, you might want to rephrase that statement.
Alright, I’ve said what I came here to say. Ya’ll work safe, and have a great weekend.

EverVigilantSheepdog on September 27, 2007 at 8:00 pm

“Hell, two that I won’t name here, were on the top of our lists to promote, at our earliest opportunity, and they knew it, when they jumped. What more would you have us do? Seriously? I’m not willing to buy your argument Sir, at least as far as the SAC/New Orleans goes.”
I happen to know the two people you are talking about, and I have talked to them (both before and after they went to DRO). I suppose they weren’t as frank with you as they are with me, but your side and their side doesn’t sync up as well as you might hope. They were offered promotional opportunites in OI, but not when you promoted a GS with very few years experience in OI to ASAC, not when you promoted a GS-14 ASAC to GS-15 ASAC (when he was despised by most who have worked for him), and not when you promoted another GS-14 ASAC to GS-15 ASAC (causing him to withdraw his retirement paperwork) even though he skipped the cross training. All of these were legacy Customs agents, and during this time you skipped over the one person in the SAC area from the legacy INS side eligible for a GS-15. I realize he was offered Tampa, but that doesn’t provide much cover to you claims that you did all you could to find a legacy INS person to be an ASAC in New Orleans.
I have met all of these people and I have no personal problem with any of them. I have met the new ASAC for Tennessee and the ASAC in Alabama, and I have no personal problem with either of them. It is possible I caught the ASAC for Tennessee in an off moment, and I will certainly give him another chance to show his leadership qualitites. But none of that removes the fact that not one Legacy INS person has been promoted to GS-15 in SAC New Orleans.
The agents see that, they talk about it, and it is a clear shortcoming. It is an issue not just for me, but for every legacy INS agent I know in the New Orleans SAC area (and there aren’t that many of us left). I realize it you can’t answer this, but how many legacy INS Agents (other than the FOD in New Orleans) have you approached and offered GS-15 slots in New Orleans? As we both know these two agents you reference, you know that only one of them was eligible for or offered an ASAC slot. That means you have offered one legacy INS agent a GS-15 post, and that was for some future opening that you didn’t even have available.
So you asked what would I have you do? Simply acknowledge the fact that the legacy INS agents and supervisors bring some value to this agency by placing one in an upper management position in the SAC area. Surely there is more than one out there who would qualify for the post (even if you don’t know them personally, they might be qualified). My actual hope would be for a Legacy INS agent in the SAC or DSAC slot, but since I have great respect for both you and the SAC, and I would hate to see you go anytime soon, I would settle for a legacy INS ASAC. Then those of us out here in the trenches would see that you do truly value our experience and the mission that INS performed in the past and ICE is tasked to perform now.
I’ve gone on long enough, but I do need to address the idiot comment. I don’t know any of the upper management in HQ, but I can tell you that the distinct impression in the field (by both legacy Customs and legacy INS agents that I know in SAC New Orleans and other SAC offices) is that they are either intentionally sabatoging the agency by making knee jerk reactions, micromanging the field, and sending down endless streams of “taskings” (none of which enhance the agency), or they are idiots. I prefer to think that my leaders aren’t intentionally destroying the agency I work for, so that leaves idiots. I may be wrong, and they may just be so over there heads they don’t know what to do, but that isn’t so far removed from being an idiot, is it?

SouthernICE1811 on September 27, 2007 at 10:57 pm

An Organizational Behavior Phd I talked to once had the most profound comment, she said, ” An organization is only concerned with its own survival”.

code7 on September 27, 2007 at 11:43 pm

For an organization (concerned about it’s own survival or not) that is run 90% by legacy USCS- and majority staffed by legacy USCS – why is it that most of the legacy Customs folks (SA) seem to hate the organization and claim it is all about immigration? And in this series of comments, the legacy INS folks are complaining about the lack of immigration as a priority, and no immigration leadership.
hmmm, perhaps everyone is busy with event planning for the next ‘ho-down’ to celebrate Julie Meyers’ comfirmation?
Can I get an invite? I will go to KC and enjoy some BBQ – although I prefer Memphis’ style

CallofDuty on September 28, 2007 at 3:40 am

I appreciate your response, and will try to answer your questions, without violating anyones privacy, or divulging information that shouldn’t be discussed in this forum.
“They were offered promotional opportunites in OI, but not when you promoted a GS with very few years experience in OI to ASAC, not when you promoted a GS-14 ASAC to GS-15 ASAC (when he was despised by most who have worked for him), and not when you promoted another GS-14 ASAC to GS-15 ASAC (causing him to withdraw his retirement paperwork) even though he skipped the cross training.”
I’ll take this a line at a time, in an effort to illustrate to you that your perception, and “reality” are very different.
The GS you refer to with “very little experience in OI” has proved to be one of the best selections, recommended by the SAC/New Orleans. This person has a law degree, worked as a trial attorney before coming to work for the Federal government, and was recognized for her potential as part of the leadership team of ICE. She has demonstrated, repeatedly, that she was up to the task, and is doing an outstanding job. Though I don’t know if you are in a position to know, but I’d ask you to speak to some of her subordinate RAC’s before you throw rocks at her.
The GS-14 ASAC that was promoted to GS-15 ASAC certainly earned that promotion. As you know he was passed over inititally, and promoted two years later to the grade 15.
You say he “is despised by most who have worked for him”. Are you saying that in legacy INS, part of the job description involved a popularity element? I’m kidding here just a little, but I hope you understand where I’m going with this. While it’s true that many people have hard time relating to the ASAC you refer to, there is no question that he “covers the account” from managements perspective.
Any task or responsibility assigned to this ASAC is accomplished by him, with an eye to the details. He’s also plenty smart, and if we’re talking about the same guy, and I think we are, you’ll realize that he’s currently running a national (legacy INS) program in ICE/HQS, and doing such a great job that he was drafted to PCS there.
“and not when you promoted another GS-14 ASAC to GS-15 ASAC (causing him to withdraw his retirement paperwork) even though he skipped the cross training.”
As I told you before, you have this piece of information wrong. There was no GS-14 ASAC promoted to a GS-15 ASAC in New Orleans, who had to withdraw his retirement papers, or who skipped that very informational two weeks of cross training. When the merger ocurred there were two GS-15 Associate SAC’s (legacy Customs) in New Orleans that were converted to ASAC 15’s. There was a legacy INS Associate SAC, acting 15, that was converted to an Acting ASAC 15, and the others were promoted from 14’s.
“All of these were legacy Customs agents, and during this time you skipped over the one person in the SAC area from the legacy INS side eligible for a GS-15.”
What you don’t get here, is the simple fact, that the one person you are referring to, was NOT on the 15 list, and thus not reachable for selection. Because we knew he was the best choice for the job, we didn’t fill that vacancy that year, but waited until he was on the list from the subsequent announcement, and that’s when he bailed. These are the facts my friend. Ask him if you don’t want to believe me.
You clearly know the players here, and I’d ask you to think about it, (probably better not to post any names here), but think about the other legacy INS people that might have been on that GS-1811-15 BQL that you would have promoted, had you had the opportunity. I’m telling you, you will arrive at the same conclusion we did.
“how many legacy INS Agents (other than the FOD in New Orleans) have you approached and offered GS-15 slots in New Orleans?”
Seven (7), not counting the current FOD. I will not elaborate any further on this point for reasons I provided earlier.
“Simply acknowledge the fact that the legacy INS agents and supervisors bring some value to this agency by placing one in an upper management position in the SAC area”
There is no question that legacy INS agents and supervisors add value to our agency, and if you know me, you know you can trust that I say it, and I believe it, and we’re doing everything we can to find this person or persons for our team.
Your final point, re: Idiots can not go unchallenged. The senior managament in ICE/HQS (law enforcement leadership not appointed) are doing the best job they can, with the mission(s) passed down from the appointed. Unlike you, I do know these people, and have known some of them for 20 years. You can’t make this stuff up my friend. What you don’t see is the tons of crap, that they cut off at the pass, that doesn’t reach your level. It’s a learning experience, and having grown up in legacy iNS you certainly know that it’s a politically charged area of law enforcement, wherein you are never judged right by all. Half the people think you aren’t doing enough, and the other half think you are doing too much.
Volunteer for a TDY in ICE/HQS sometime, and spend some time around the leadership, and I bet you would change your opinion/perception of what’s going on up there.
Work safe my friend,

EverVigilantSheepdog on September 28, 2007 at 7:33 am

I’ll try to be brief.
You have yet to comment on the upcoming lapse in the Shared Services Agreement – no matter, because I have confirmed this fact via various management and admin channels locally and in D.C.
I can’t answer for N.O. Regarding my AOR, when you have a large number of vehicles running well past 100K miles and nconstantly in the shop for repairs at $ 1,000 or more a clip because we can’t afford new vehicles to replace old ones (kind of like making a minimum payment on a credit card – you pay interest, but the bill doesn’t go away for a long time). So, when I make my comment regarding cars starting in the A.M., that’s no joke, because I’ve gotten plenty of calls from colleagues asking me to take them to work because their car needs to go in for repair.
Regarding staffing, groups in my AOR are running at 50 – 70 % of agent staffing levels (should be 10 agents per group – we’re working at mostly 5, maybe 6 and rarely 7). Why? Agents are bailing faster than we can replace them – those who are mandatory we can do nothing about, but those in the KMA club are CHOOSING to leave in recod numbers; we can’t even afford to go retirement parties anymore. We are sharing investigative assistants, and Intel Analysts are becoming as rarity (agencies like the FBI and DIA at GS-14 full performance level are sounding very attractive).
Equipment? Well, after basic admin expenses, investigative travel, paying CIs, etc., we buy equipment when we can, but it’s far from optimal. It’s amazing how DRO seems to get all that they need, no questions asked.
CallofDuty …
Can you now see where the disconnect is? Yes, many legacy Customs people are in HQ, but it stops at Marcy’s level – Chertoff, Myers and Clark are answering to a “higher authority” (read: BUSH and CONGRESS) and are going to execute
the mission (read: IMMIGRATION) as assigned; Customs investigations are about umpteenth down on the list of priorities right now – is it any wonder that ICE OI is thoroughly dysfunctional, and many people hate where they are and what they do?
EVS: I think I’ve been MORE than fair here, perhaps fairer than I should be considering how this agency has been decimated since its inception. It is my humble opinion that, if you REALLY soul search, you’ll at least understand why I, and many other ICE OI staff around the nation (and it’s not just all about N.O.), feel as we do.
Regards …

4EVERCUSTOMS on September 28, 2007 at 7:44 am

Thanks for your comments, and I agree that you have been taking the high road, on most topics on this site. I for one appreciate it.
I can’t speak for your AOR of course, but in mine, our vehicle fleet is better than I can ever recall, to include the days when Customs always had the best cars.
If we have a car with over 100K on it within my AOR this fact has been concealed from me. Most of our agents and supervisors are driving new or almost new vehicles, even relatively junior agents.
Maybe we are the exception, due to our losses during Hurricane Katrina, but I know a bunch of SAC’s, and none of them are shy about bitching when it’s appropriate, and I haven’t heard anything in sometime about cars.
The actual ideal staffing for a group is 8-10 agents per GS, with one Investigative Assistant and one IRS. HQS is pumping new agents into the pipeline, but unfortunately FLETC can only train so many per year. If your administrative support is lacking, it falls to your SAC office. Every SAC office has been given the green light to fill IA vacancies, and announcements are out all the time. We are almost at 100%, once a few new hires clear the background process. IRS’s are harder to get, and fill. I think this was always a weakness at Customs, compared to DEA/FBI. I think we should have one for each investigative group, but we’re lucky to have one for each two groups. It’s even harder trying to spread them around to all the groups in the RAC offices (We have 18 offices). We (and HQS) are aware of this though, and progress though slow, is still progress.
As I said before, we’ve had the funds for everything we needed, that was operationaly necessary. Equipment money as you know is always scarce, but I can’t say we are lacking any equipment we need. We appropriately use the forfeiture fund from time to time to purchase items that might be out of reach otherwise. Ask my SRT guys about all the stuff they’ve talked me into purchasing for them. LOL It’s all stuff that contributes towards officer safety though, and with that mindset, nobody can tell you not to do it.
We’re going to have some vacancies in New Orleans proper, and within our AOR pretty soon. Throw your name in the hat, and come on down. I think you’ll like the southern hospitality.
Work safe,

EverVigilantSheepdog on September 28, 2007 at 9:17 am

I have not always been a fan of this site, because it often relays information that is not accurate, but I do enjoy the opportunities for interaction it provides.
As previously stated, I’m a legacy INS 1811 who left for DRO. Where many of the complaints on this site originally began with DRO, it appears now that the bombs are ALL being lobbed at OI. This is unfortunate, but revealing.
It’s revealing because despite the anger at being “lumped” with the uneducated, lowly INS personnel, somehow the majority of ICE OI HQ personnel are from the legacy USCS. At my last count, there are eight legacy USCS SES employees running OI in HQ, 0 legacy INS. Of the SACs, only one is legacy INS. The takeover is complete. Yet, we’re angry not at them (occasionally they take a collateral blow), but at Myers, Chertoff, etc.
The result is what you have. Angry managers attempting to adminsiter something they don’t believe in. And if your only interest is in your GOV, then I might guess you’re not the number one agent in the office. No offense. I drove a lot of pieces of shit while following targets and it paid off. Quite frankly, I think the fleet in OI is TOO good. OI needs to make some big cases, quickly, before they lose some funding.
Politics counts, and guess what, the lone vote cast against Ms. Myers was because of OI’s failure to count the number of criminal employers charged – and we thought TECS was the answer?!? Seriously, OI is facing a crisis.
Now, a few counterpoints –
EVS – I share your commitment to the agency. Please stop selling the “WE LOVE INS” card. I’m very familiar with the selection history in SAC NO, and elsewhere, and not altogether impressed. We left not because we couldn’t get promoted, but because we knew it was a “smoke and mirrors” promotion. Guess what? I actually had a supervisor inttroduce me this way, “He’s legacy INS, but really, he’s good!” You don’t value the legacy INS personnel, bottom line. You will say you do, and perhaps you’re the only one – and, no, I probably won’t e-mail you to chat about it, even though I might like to.
4EVER – About a month ago, you swore off belittling legacy INS personnel, and you’ve kept your word. But, what I don’t read from you are solutions. What’s the solution to this? And it can’t be that we should go back to 2001 because that won’t fly. Look internally – the politicos will always be the politicos.
Finally, I’ll say this about the Director of OI -she’s taken people pitted against each other and pitted them against her. RIP DSAC DelliColli.

The1789er on September 29, 2007 at 4:27 am

I think you’ve missed the point or are confusing the issues to make yours. I’m guessing you are referring to 4EVERCUSTOMS with the crack about the GOV? He/She was asking a legitimate question, and I didn’t take it as whining about his/her personal GOV at all.
You comment on the “takeover being complete”, and “stop selling we love INS”, and then you also say you left OI for DRO. Do you not see the contradictions? You left rather than be part of the solution within OI, right? Yet you ask 4EVERCUSTOMS for solutions. How does that make sense?
To say “You don’t value the legacy INS personnel, bottom line” is unmitigated bullshit and if you knew me, you’d know I’m right.
I was asked by SouthernICE1811 to explain the history of the upper management selections within the SAC/New Orleans. I did that, honestly, and candidly. If you don’t like it, or are not “altogether impressed” I can’t help that. I’m sure you would have done things differently. I’m just hopeful that it answers his/her questions.
And lastly, I didn’t realize that Kevin had died? Isn’t he living large over at Commerce?
Work safe,

EverVigilantSheepdog on September 29, 2007 at 9:20 am

Thanks for your response. If you can’t tell, the lack of legacy INS representation in upper management (of both the SAC offices and HQ) is a big issue for me. It is also a big issue for the agents I’ve known and worked with around the country for many years. If I seem angy about it, it is because I am. You say you are trying now to rectify the situation, but what were you doing when experienced INS supervisors in two of your offices were told there was no slot for them and they were relegated to journeyman agents (and I know one of them got a GS slot after making some waves, but it doesn’t change what happened or the intent of those who did it).
This happened not just in SAC NO, but around the country. No competition for the RAC jobs, no thank you for playing, who cares about the experience or ability you bring to the table, our Pensacola gal (and I only use the term gal so you’ll know who I am talking about) wins and you lose, enjoy being a journeyman with the agents you have been supervising for years.
These things along with other issues that there are no need to rehash here have made OI a less than welcoming place to the legacy INS agents. I realize that the political winds have created a value to legacy INS agents and managers that the HQ folks (and perhaps the SAC Offices) didn’t see a couple of years ago, and I’m glad to see some efforts being made to correct this wrong. It is clearly too late for some who have already made job changes, but there are still qualified legacy INS GS-14s out there who are ready and willing to be GS-15s if given the chance.
You say that GS-15 offers have been made to 7 legacy INS agents by SAC NO. I can neither prove or disprove this, but I have no reason to not believe you. I would like to ask how many of those 7 were offered Tennessee or Alabama, but I realize you may not be able to provide that much specificity in you answer.
Whether you can answer or not, I ask you again to consider what the lack of GS-15’s from the legacy INS side in SAC NO says to the agents in the field. The people in HQ may or may not be idiots, but I know that you and the SAC in New Orleans are not. I just have to trust you will do the right thing and be true to your word.
Meanwhile, other legacy INS agents and I continue to discuss and contemplate moving to DRO. The past four and half years have left lots of bruises on us, and the temptation to just walk away from those who did the harm is great. It isn’t easy to decide, because even though I know I am not really welcome as “part of the solution”, I don’t want to abandon the ship when all is not yet lost.

SouthernICE1811 on September 29, 2007 at 12:21 pm

I can’t answer your questions with more specificity, for reasons already known. I would really like to discuss the “journeyman agent” issue you brought up, but I just can’t. I hope you understand.
I do know what the lack of GS-15’s from the legacy INS side says to the legacy INS folks and that is one of the reasons we are trying so damn hard to fix that. That and the fact that it just makes sense to have someone on the executive staff with the experience and knowledge that we so desperately need.
I must confess that I rely heavily on an outstanding Chief Counsel’s staff in New Orleans, and thankfully, our friends that went to DRO from OI are but a phone call or short elevator ride away.
Having said that, I’ll also tell you that the learning curve is slowly but surely being overcome.
It’s four years later, and we now have some legacy Customs agents that know the INS stuff as well as some that have been doing the same job for 20 years. To a lesser degree (only because our focus has been so Immigration weighted) we have legacy INS agents becoming quite accomplished at the legacy Customs work.
We also have some ICE “only” agents that were hired after the merger, with no baggage on either side of the fence, who show tremendous promise as future leaders for ICE. Some of these folks are making some tremendous cases, without regard for the way things used to be.
I appreciate your confidence in the SAC/NO and I SouthernICE1811, and you have my word that we’ll continue to work hard to earn and keep your trust and respect. Unfortunately, from your perspective, you can’t always see the “big picture” and all the variables that are in play on some of the major decisions that are made. You usually only see the end result, and while it’s unfortunate, it is reality. At some point you’ll just have to trust that the decisions that are made, are made for the right reasons.
It’s all about you guys at the end of the day. Without Agents doing their work, and work worth doing, there would be no need for the rest of us.
Work safe my friend,

EverVigilantSheepdog on September 29, 2007 at 2:08 pm

Kyle ñ I left because I believe that DRO IS the solution for ICE, never mind OI. First, OI never cultivated a sense of belonging among the legacy INS agents, so leaving is easy for most of us. Since OI management has steadfastly refused to conduct immigration enforcement, DRO is now assuming that responsibility. Donít tell me youíre unaware that over 50% of the case hours recorded in TECS are narcotics cases, and spare me the explanation that itís because of the border offices. With OI unable or unwilling to produce on the immigration enforcement front, look for more of their duties and responsibilities, including criminal investigations, to be transferred.
My ìcrackî about the GOV isnít directed at anyone. I think that issue is different in every office, although like you, Iíve never seen it as a problem. My point is the discussion needs to be brought to a higher level. And, quite frankly, I take offense to your assertion that the belief that legacy INS personnel are not valued by current OI management is unmitigated bullshit. I donít know you, and perhaps you do value them. I can tell you there are many in OI management that do not. If you do, Iím glad, because I know a few good legacy INS agents in NO who can use an advocate at a higher level. If I remember correctly, many of the personnel decisions made in NO that are being discussed here were made prior to your arrival. Would I have done things differently? I donít know, because I wasnít there. Do I have criticisms of OI that a lot of people share? I believe I do.
I donít believe Iím confusing the issues. My point is that, while I agree with you on many things, I disagree with your position that things in OI couldnít be better. And, if I might add, in your criticism of my previous comments, you didnít discuss the wildly uneven ration of legacy personnel in SES positions. I donít think even you could argue there is a rational explanation for that.

The1789er on September 29, 2007 at 3:24 pm

1789er …
I will answer your post.
The obvious answer, from where I sit, was that NEVER, EVER should have Customs and Immigration been combined, and the answer was certainly NOT to remove Customs from Treasury. The Customs/Treasury model was one that WORKED, despite the idiosyncracies and the occassional pockets of mismanagement and corruption, as there are with ANY law enforcement agency: There was adequate FUNDING (read: USER FEES and FORFEITURE FUND access), adequate STAFFING (full-up groups of 8-10 agents, PLUS an IA and an IRS per group), adequate EQUIPMENT (vehicles that were turned over every 65,000 miles, office supplies, furniture, etc.) and, most of all, a CLEAR pecking order – OI at the top, AMO and Intelligence in support, OFO (Inspectors) referring cases at the border for follow-up and Import Specialists keeping an eye out for irregularities in importers’ activities. Now, we suffer from a complete breakdown of everything stated above, so, how can we fix this?
Well, since we’re NOT going back to being purely Customs (which is a mistake, because NEITHER missionis being properly addressed), we need to go back to a solid model of accountability, with Investigations taking priority, AMO an Intelligence in support and CBP referring cases interdicted at the border. DRO and CBP should work with ICE OI in determining what border cases should be investigated further, and what can be handled by CBP Prosecution Officers for single-issue offenses. DRO should also coordinate with OI in ensuring that people being detained administratively and subject to deportation are not deported before OI has a chance to debrief these people or utilize them in criminal ivestigations. In short, some COMMAND, CONTROL and COORDINATION would go a long way, instead of everyone pursuing their own agendas.
Regarding funding, ALL entities need to have access to user fees to bolster budget shortfalls, and OI needs easier access to the forfeiture fund, to which we contribute a lot to in terms of out sizure and arrest activity (as does CBP). If user fees need to be increased, so be it -everyone wants “homeland security”, but who is willing to pay for it? – DHS is NOT all about the TSA and airport screeners; it’s also about BORDER security, and people need to contribute to that, as well.
Reagrding staffing, we may need to put off advanced schools for a year and get our basic staffing “up to snuff”, pushing through as many classes as possible and maybe hiring those with current or prior law enforcement experience (e.g. laterals from Secret Service, etc.). Also, how about making initial base pay more attractive? The FBI starts agents at GS-10, while we are stuck at GS 5/7 – Do we see a problem with recruitment and retention here, folks, especially in a major city like New York or L.A.? Regarding career development, how about requiring incoming HQ types to have at least 3 years of field experience at the GS-13 level before applying? Also, does a C.V. mean anything anymore when applying for a 14? In other words, what cases have you worked? What collaterals duties have you performed? What assignments have you volunteered for that show you are WORTHY of a LEADERSHIP position instead of simply MAKING GRADE? I can show you COUNTLESS examples of 31 year olds who simply punched their ticket, made the right connections and went to HQ – 14, then 15, but with no real understanding of leadership and what it is to GIVE BEFORE YOU TAKE. Then people wonder why there is a morale problem – well, heck, when your Assistant Secretary is still shy of 40 and an SES, and her connections are the only thing that got her the job, you can appreciate why field agents are in “shut-down” mode, and why we lament for someone like Ralph Basham, a man who DID the job, as our leader.
Equipment concerns need to be addressed – why are vehicles being pushed past 100, 125, yea, 150 K miles, with no emergency equipment installed and failing systems like air, etc?. Then, we throw $ 1,000, $ 2,000, no, $ 3,000 into the car to keep it running another couple of thousand miles until the next breakdown – penny wise, pound foolish. What about office space, computers, furniture and supplies? It lends itself to morale when office space, the vehicle fleet and equipment is in working order, clean and readily available, as needed.
These things should be NO BRAINERS – the security of our nation depends on the WHOLE of agents, deport officers, CBP Officers and others to feel valued in doing their respective areas. What the leadership has done, instead, is to divide the ranks and assign value based upon their view of the mission, which, right now, is myopically focused on IMMIGRATION. The last U.N. report for wholesale drug prices (2006) showed that the wholesale prices for cocaine has dropped almost
$ 7,000 per kilo since 2000, and a staggering $ 45,000 per kilo since 1990; the wholesale price for heroin has dropped proportionately and cannibis ridiculously cheap – Do we see a failure of border enforcement here? We are struggling to stop arms trafficking and money laundering, two investigative areas that require intensive funding and manpower due to the complexities and historical nature of the investigations, but that are being ignored in favor of a single issue. Child pornography? Customs used to lead the way in these kinds of cases. Now, with deceasing amounts of training available, decreasing amounts of forensic equipment (e.g. ENCASE) and staff being realigned and reassigned to handle the immigration mission, others are trying to woefully pick up the slack where we can no ,onger do it. The failure to address ALL areas of border enforcement is to have FAILED the American people and their security on the WHOLE of the threat facing our nation.
What I have done here is to provide real solutions to real problems and have provided facts to support them; I have NOT belittled legacy INS agents or DRO officers in doing so. I hope you can respect where I am coming from and appreciate my position in why I (and many of my colleagues) are frustrated in this debacle called ICE.
Good luck in your service to DRO; you do serve an important function, and it should be valued, just not at the expense of other entities within the agency.

4EVERCUSTOMS on September 29, 2007 at 3:44 pm

I appreciate your perspective on this, and you make some good points. I don’t agree with them all, but you make a good argument.
You said ” Since OI management has steadfastly refused to conduct immigration enforcement, DRO is now assuming that responsibility.”
Because I don’t know where you were on the 26 SAC office map I have a hard time making sense of this. OI management has been ALL about immigration enforcement since May of 2003.
That’s where all the attention is going, where all the funding is going, and where all the new positions are going.
Is DRO contributing to this? You bet!! DRO with their pro-active and enforcement mindset, has helped out a great deal, but to say OI management has refused to conduct immigration enforcement is just flat wrong. Now we may not have done a good job at it, but we’ve damn sure been doing it. Could we work smarter? Sure we could. Could we work it harder? I don’t think so.
I am aware that over 50% of legacy Customs cases were narcotics related, and yes, a huge number of these came from border SAC offices. Remember I worked in almost every office in Arizona, so I know that drill. Duty agents on the border earn their pay, thanks largely to the great work our CBP partners do. But you must work them, because the violators wouldn’t go to prison if we didn’t. And please don’t think all the border guys are doing is “bag & tag”. There are some great conspiracy cases developed and worked out of those offices, even as over-worked as they are.
Our cases in the SAC/NO are now running almost dead even, with traditional INS and USCS investigations represented, with just a few more hours on immigration cases.
“With OI unable or unwilling to produce on the immigration enforcement front, look for more of their duties and responsibilities, including criminal investigations, to be transferred.”
I wouldn’t count on that. I’m all for DRO taking over the road-kill loads, and the onesie-twosie cases, where there is no clear cut criminal prosecution possible. This will free up the investigators to investigate, and that’s what we are good at. When I was in Phoenix, right before ICE STORM kicked off, and to some degree later, our guys would have drop houses with 100+ loads. I don’t need to tell you how long it takes to process this many illegals, even when you can move them back to Mexico on a bus. I’m thrilled that DRO is taking that responsibility, and I’m willing to be paitent while DRO plusses up to handle it. At the end of the day, it’ll be good for ICE.
“My point is that, while I agree with you on many things, I disagree with your position that things in OI couldnÔø?t be better.” I have never said things in OI couldn’t be better my friend.
You may need to go back and read some of my earlier posts, because I have said again and again, that it isn’t perfect, and we’re not there yet, but we will get there in time. It would be a lot quicker if more legacy INS guys stuck around to help, but we’ll get there regardless.
As for the distribution of the SES position, I really don’t have anything to contribute, which is why I didn’t comment.
I’m not an SES, and don’t want to be, because I’d have to move, and I’ve moved seven (7) times for this job, and to paraphrase Tim McGraw “I’m setting this circus down”. I might not even take it if they offered it to me where I am, because I like the “Deuce position”.
Answering The 1789r took all my energy my friend, and I’m wore slap out from Harley riding all weekend.
I will say, that if you write your ROI’s as well as you do the things you say on here, I’m willing to give up a couple of future draft choices to get you in my office.
Think about it (AL,AR,LA,MS,TN) are all out there for the picking, and the living is good!! LOL
Ya’ll be safe,

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